Mind our Minors!
My name is Alisa Doan and I’m a new volunteer with No Minor Sale aiming to stop the sale of tobacco products to minors with my health promotion skills! For example, developing a program with an emphasis on the Ecological model, that focuses on health promotion, to address the risks of using tobacco and prevent tobacco related diseases. I’m originally from Houston, Texas and now I am here in Las Cruces. I am a recent graduate from New Mexico State University; I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and a minor in Business Administration.
What got me inspired to act was how I saw people around me smoking a lot! Then I discovered that New Mexico has adult smoking rates that is higher compared to the national average. On top of that we have a high percentage of high school students smoking! I aspire to be an epidemiologist; I believe that because of the recent pandemic, epidemiology has become more crucial in the fight to end any more fatalities and increase awareness and prevention efforts. I wanted to become an epidemiologist because I want to be on the front lines researching and preventing diseases. Although there have been large scale policy changes in tobacco like restrictions of sales to minors, e-cigarettes licensing (aka more regulations), and smoke free indoor laws, there is still much to do and achieve.
A close friend of mine still smokes menthol cigarettes (I’m slowly persuading her to quit). She spoke to me on youth access laws; but establishments being required to post signs prohibiting tobacco sales to minors or raising the age of all tobacco sale products to 21 is not effective enough. From her experience, establishments are supposed to confirm the ages of individuals that buy tobacco and employees didn’t bother to check her ID! I think policy makers should consider a budget to give establishments so they can plan, develop, and implement programs and trainings to educate employees on the regulations of tobacco sales to minors.
I think e-cigarette usage is one of many coping strategies that young adults and minors gravitate toward to relieve stress, and many are unaware of the dangers of e-cigarette usage. For example, a 2mL pack of e-liquid has nicotine that is equivalent to 20 cigarettes, or an entire pack. Additionally, using e-cigarettes, with their various chemicals and toxins, is linked to asthma, lung inflammation, and COPD.To top it all off, e-cigarette manufacturers have an evil but brilliant marketing tactic where the e-cigarettes have different flavors that appeal to both minors and adults.
I think restricting the sale of flavors in tobacco products will only decrease vaping usage and sales short term, but in the long term it won’t be enough. Therefore, only proper support and funding will make any impact; I believe with the right campaign, program, and awareness, individuals will consciously stay away from tobacco products in general. Also, for those who are vaping and using tobacco, the campaign would inform them enough to be willing to make a change in improving their health. I joined No Minor Sale to raise awareness of illegal tobacco sales to minors and improve the overall health of New Mexicans.